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Digital Nature Photography (FBCEC)

TopicOutdoor Skills - Outdoor Photography
Technology
Summary
Participants will study the qualities of good (and not so good) nature photography. They will then use digital cameras (their own or FBCEC’s) to take photographs on the FBCEC grounds. After taking several photos, classroom computers will be used to organize photos into files to be burned to a disc or stored on the participant’s flash drive.

Grade Level5 - 12
Recommended SettingIndoor classroom and outdoors
LocationFred Berry Conservation Education Center, Yellville, AR
Contact
Education Program Coordinator, 870-449-3484
Duration1 - 2 hours
Suggested Number of ParticipantsUp to 20
Special Conditions
Weather permitting
Objectives
  • Acquire skill in using digital cameras and software.
  • Create a portfolio of nature photos.
  • Evaluate the quality of the photos.
  • Recognize that digital nature photography can be a tool of expression as well as documentation.
Materials

Blank CDs or participant’s flash drive

Cables for cameras

Digital cameras

Handouts with photography tips and camera parts

Laptop computers

Sample photos

Background
Nature photography is a fun way to enrich outdoor adventures, and digital camera technology makes a photographer of everyone. Taking, storing and sharing photos are easy to teach, easy to learn and can be woven into a variety of lessons. For example, a digital wildflower collection can be made with virtually no environmental impact. Fish can be photographed and released, and wildlife may be photographed in the field and identified later.
Procedure
  1. Begin with a slide show or other display of exemplary nature photos. Explain that participants will have a chance to capture interesting outdoor images. Encourage participants to discuss the photos and what they find pleasing about each one. Provide some less exemplary examples and discuss what qualities make a good photograph. Briefly discuss composition, color, lighting.
  2. Review the basics of the digital cameras they will be using. (Some may choose to use their own camera.)
  3. Provide each participant, or pair of participants, a laminated card with wild photography tips on one side and parts of the camera on the other. Also, supply a list of photo assignments to include one to three shots in each of the following:
    • Animals
    • Flowers and plants
    • Nature scene
  4. Clearly describe the area where participants will be allowed to work and give a certain amount of time to complete the assignment. After going over safety guidelines, send them out.
  5. Upon their return, offer help in downloading their photos to a classroom computer and placing them in their own folder. They should choose their best one to three photos in each category to save and explain why they chose them.
  6. Depending on the size of the class and the time available, participants may edit their photos.
  7. Once everyone has saved their photos, burn a CD or save to a flash drive for the teacher to take back to class. If time is available, view the file in the classroom and informally (and respectfully) evaluate the photos as a group. What are the strong points? What could have improved the shot? What did you find challenging about getting any particular image?
Modifications

The field assignment can be a scavenger hunt. Give out a list of natural features, items or organisms they can find in the area where they will be photographing. All items must be clearly identifiable in the photo to receive credit. Send them out in teams of two or three. Teams are to sign in to the classroom upon their return and record the time they sign in. Then they must make a single computer file of photos and check off the items in the file and present their product to a teacher for verification. The team who correctly photographs the highest number of assigned items wins. In the event of a tie, the winning team will be the one that signed in first.

Review
  • What qualities make a good wildlife photograph? A good landscape photograph?
  • Suggest ways digital photography could enhance other school assignments.
Resources

Photo Gallery. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. http://www.agfc.com/photo-gallery.aspx

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